Matthew Cooke’s documentary How To Make Money Selling Drugs is a fast track course to understanding the war on drugs. Done in the tongue in cheek style of a sales pitch, the first time director breaks it down for the viewer in a catchy, fast and almost video-game like pace. The innovative doc shows all the levels of selling any drug on the market- from starting small by working the corners to the big leagues of being a kingpin.
To support the different “levels” of the game, Cooke’s film features interviews with high profile former dealers such as rapper 50 Cent and Freeway Rick Ross, who at the high point in his career, was making a million dollars a day. Viewers get an autobiographical take on the stories with only one interviewee not willing to show their face on camera, a Detroit dealer who hasn’t yet given up the game.
Most interestingly, Cooke dives into the corruption of law enforcement and how lots of them are making serious money in this so-called war on drugs. The amount of corruption and deceit Cooke uncovers on the side of law enforcement is astonishing, from the racism in prosecution to the amount of money a member of the law gets for putting suspected dealers away vs. murderers. The facts are supported with the testimony of Barry Cooper, a one time cop, who has turned into a vigilante against the drug war.
Cooke ends his film with a look at legal drugs and their effects, touching on facts like alcohol and tobacco are killing more people than anything illegal, but not nearly enough is done about it. He does this with supporting statements from famous advocates such as actress Susan Sarandon and rapper Eminem.
Overall it was a great, insightful portrait of a war that is often overlooked and the press and public should open their eyes to. Looking forward to seeing what topic Cooke decides to tackle next as his first effort is a great one!
How to Make Money Selling Drugs opens theatrically in Los Angeles June 26, 2013. Watch the trailer here.